Every summer I get a toe ring. I wear it on the toe next to my big toe on my left foot.
This tradition started about 14 years ago. I figured if a $5 toe ring helped me hang on to my youth, well, it was worth it.
Each year, there would be a new toe ring. Toe rings find you - you can look for one and really want one. But when you are in some musty souvenir shop at the beach, well, that's the one you have to have. It found you.
My first one - I say it was from Don Henley - I was still married. Carolyn and I had just been to his concert at Red Rocks. I found it in a gift shop in Morrison, CO.
The toe ring is worn until real shoes have to be worn. Then it actually gets annoying - either that or the shoes get annoying.
Sometimes they fall off. They disappear. Sometimes a cute guy buys you one and it serves as a "reminder of love". Much like a teenage promise ring. Only a summer love ring. Or a short term ring. Or a reminder of the one guy whom never had the guts to actually buy you a toe ring. He knew it meant so much more than it really being just a $5 toe ring.
The year I "ran off to Hawaii in the winter" - well, I bought a toe ring. Sterling silver. At a toe ring store. A store completely dedicated to toe rings. This toe ring cost me $40. There was one in there that cost $1500.
I joked that I would take that as my wedding ring one day. Just an exchange of toe rings.
My $40 toe ring - I put on that March and wore it all last summer. I also wore it this past summer. At one point this summer, I tried to take it off. It was bent. My feet were swollen. It wouldn't come off.
Yesterday, it slipped right off. I guess summer is officially over. My love for Hawaii and the summer is not over. Just the ending of a season.
One day, I'll get my permanent toe ring. The only ring I've ever really wanted.